Should I bring my car to a ‘fast’ oil-change shop?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who has always brought his BMW to the dealer for oil changes.

–George Kennedy

Q. I’ve been taking my BMW into the dealership for oil changes for years. I generally leave it there in the morning then pick it up at noon. Once I waited and they had the car in the shop for about 90 minutes. I’ve always had good results. I recently drove by a “quick lube,” and they had a sign out for 10-minute oil changes. Since time is money, what do you think about these “fast” oil-change shops?

A. I like to think that a dealership or other full-service repair shops — in addition to changing your car’s oil — will also look it over for other potential problems. Dealerships can also make sure any recalls are up to date. In today’s vehicles, it is critical to use the correct oil type, and I have seen cases where the car doesn’t get the correct oil unless a customer specifically asks for it. Also, at a quick lube, the technician may be good at oil changes and other maintenance items, but may not have the experience to see other critical items that need to be repaired. Depending on how often you get the oil changed in your vehicle, alternating between a quick lube and a full-service garage could be the answer.


John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to